Because of numerous rumors and speculation in the community linking Mayor-elect Kim McMillan to the possibility Clarksville Department of Electricity Power Board members will hire current city Mayor Johnny Piper as the next superintendent of the public utility, she wants to express her opinion to the public on the matter.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” she said. “The issue isn’t about whether Johnny Piper is qualified to run the day-to-day operations of CDE, that’s a decision for the Power Board. It’s about good government, which I’ve promoted, and will continue to advocate, as an elected official. Such action would be counter to the spirit of a city ordinance that prohibits elected city officials from becoming city department heads immediately after leaving office. My problem with this situation is a former mayor would be leaving office and going directly into a city leadership position without a break in service, or a ‘cooling-off period,’ as some call it.”
In the reported opinion of Power Board attorney David Silvus, CDE was created by state charter, and thus, is exempt from the city ordinance.
“By that logic, shouldn’t the Power Board then be guided by the state’s ethics policy that prohibits a state elected officeholder from taking a job as a lobbyist for one year after leaving office?” McMillan said.
The mayor-elect will be sworn into office on Jan. 3 and has no authority to take any action until that time. Even then, the Power Board is an autonomous governing body of CDE, and does not answer to the office of the mayor. The mayor only can appoint members to the board as the terms of sitting members expire.
She has been researching the issues and will be drafting an amendment to the current city ordinance loophole that appears to allow Power Board members to place an elected official fresh out of office in the CDE superintendent position.
Once in office, McMillan plans to take whatever means necessary to make the amendment part of the city charter.